Remembering David Sanjek

by justindburton on December 1, 2011

David Sanjek, who has been a scholarly mentor and friend to many who read this site and who has through the years been integral to the workings of IASPM-US, died suddenly yesterday after suffering a heart attack. This space is dedicated to remembering him, and it seems appropriate to start with the words of his friend, Reebee Garofalo:

I awoke to this news; it is too jarring to imagine. Just as Charles Hamm passed the reins of IASPM-US to me, I passed them to Dave. Dave is the guy who began to impose a sense of organization on what was up until then a wonderful network; it was Dave who incorporated the US chapter as a tax exempt, non-profit. Such bureaucratic actions, of course, only begin to scratch the surface of the love and commitment he felt toward IASPM and its members. I actually met Dave’s father, Russ, before I met Dave. As a VP at BMI, Russ’s knowledge of the music industry was encyclopedic, and his participation in many of the events that shaped it was legendary. He was widely known as the conscience of the music business. As is easy to see, Dave carried on the family business admirably. As the archivist for BMI, Dave was one of the most accomplished and generous scholars in the field. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, I seldom had a question about popular music history for which Dave wasn’t my first phone call (yes, we still used telephones then). Interestingly, at a time when many of our colleagues viewed Dave’s job as more glamorous than our own — he did get to go to those glitzy Grammy and Rock Hall events, after all — Dave wanted nothing more than to be in the academy. Kudos to the folks at Salford for having the good sense to give him the opportunity. I’m glad he got to realize his dream before he left us. It isn’t quite enough to say he will be missed. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine IASPM (or the world, for that matter) without him.

Goodbye my friend.
With love,


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: